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Tourism NZ forgets the environment

Tourism NZ forgets the environment

Green Party Media Release
28th November 2006

Tourism New Zealand’s Annual Report shows that while the Government speechwriters may have discovered the environment, Tourism New Zealand has yet to wake up to the environmental challenges to their industry, the Green Party says.

“Tourism is our single largest export earner but it is uniquely exposed to environmental concerns that should be at the centre of the industry’s thinking, but this appears to be completely absent based on Tourism NZ’s recently released Annual Report,” says Russel Norman, Green Co-Leader and Economics Spokesperson.

“As climate change moves increasingly to the centre of people’s thinking, they will think long and hard about flying to New Zealand for a holiday with all the associated greenhouse emissions, but Tourism NZ’s report does not even identify this as an issue.

“And given the fact that New Zealand is promoted overseas as 100% pure, when in fact, for example, most of our lowland rivers are actually too polluted for swimming or drinking, you’d think that Tourism NZ may have identified that as a challenge and a potential risk to their 100% advertising campaign.

“The Chief Executive’s report even notes that we are a destination that appeals to ‘visitors who are more environmentally friendly’ and Tourism NZ’s own research shows that interaction with the New Zealand environment is one of the factors that drives tourist satisfaction.

“But of the 12 challenges identified in the Chairman’s report, none consider the impacts of climate change and our poor environmental and land use practices.

“I would encourage Tourism New Zealand to consider what might happen if these ‘environmentally friendly’ visitors were to discover the true state of the degraded New Zealand environment – that our greenhouse emissions are soaring out of control, that air pollution is killing hundreds of people every year, and that many lakes and rivers are dying from farm runoff.

“I welcome Tourism New Zealand’s embrace of the Green Globe programme but it ’s not enough. They need to be pushing the Government to clean up our environmental act so at least we can tell visitors we’re trying to fix the mess rather than just carrying on with business as usual.

“As business commentator Rod Oram has been trying to point out, our economy is particularly vulnerable to the rising tide of global environmental consciousness but most of our businesses and business organisations seem to be asleep. This is yet another example of that doziness,” Dr. Norman says.

ENDS


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